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Project Bronco

With my Blazer turning into a trailer queen, it was getting a little ridicules to load it up for just general trails runs around town. So I started looking around for something that could be a daily driver and also serve as a easy to medium trail rig. I first started out with a Subaru wagon, and while small and nimble, it didnít have the clearance to deal with the normal ruts that we have around here. I found myself beating the car to just get around. It was time for something else. In a stroke of luck, I was able to trade the Subaru strait across for an '89 Ford Bronco. I think It'll do!

What I ended up with was a fairly good starting point. It came with a 302 V8, Manual 4 speed with the Granny low, and a Borge Warner 1356 Transfer case with a 2.69 low range ratio. The rear was the Ford 8.8 rear and the front was the Twin Beam Dana 44. Axles had 3.55 gears in them. Tires were some bald 30" something or others on aftermarket rims. The AC even worked.

After getting it home I found a few things that needed to be addressed right away. The oil was about 2 quarts overfull and dirty so I changed out the oil and the filter. The rear axle had a bad pinion seal and was blowing oil everywhere. I replaced that and topped the rear off with fresh gear oil. Everything thing else seemed OK and ready to roll.

The first thing I needed was a set of tires for it. Steve from CBI Off-road hooked me up with a set of 32"x11.5" All terrains. Just right for what I had in mind. A set of 33" would have fit but I couldnít find a deal on a set. They helped fill up the wheel wells and it was time for a test drive.

The combination of the low range of the transfer case and the granny gear on the tranny gave it a pretty good crawl ratio with the 32" tires. I was worried about the higher axle gearing but I donít think it will be a problem at all. The Bronco also hooked up well and was able to climb up some muddy hills easily. Then I went to see how the suspension flexed out. The first thing I noticed was that it didnít have any. It was pretty bad. I was just trying to get into position to put a tire up on a dirt bank and I was done. This vehicle needs some flex and a rear locker really bad. Crawling under the rig I found sway bars front and rear and dual shocks on each wheel up front. I'll have to do something about that. I also found that the running boards pretty much dragged on everything. I like the running boards as they keep the road grime off rather well but they are beat up and are going to have to go.

Check back as I work on the suspension and install a rear locker. I also have plans on a lift kit, extra lights, and anything else I can lay my hands on!

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